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The Eleanor Steber Collection, Vol. 1: The Early Career, 1938-1951
Claude Debussy, Giuseppe Verdi, Ruggero Leoncavallo
The Eleanor Steber Collection, Vol. 1: The Early Career, 1938-1951
Genres: Folk, Special Interest, Pop, Classical
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #1


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A great American soprano in her early prime
klavierspiel | TX, USA | 04/11/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Eleanor Steber's tale is at once inspirational and cautionary. It is inspirational for her success as a home-grown and trained talent, a New England girl who became a leading artist at the Metropolitan Opera, possessing one of the most beautiful soprano voices of the twentieth century. Later she became a distinguished teacher of voice. It is cautionary for her frustrations with autocratic Met manager Rudolf Bing and the vocal difficulties of her later career, exacerbated by alcohol and relationships with unworthy men.Happily, none of the darker side of Steber's life is vocally evident in this collection of recordings dating from her early years. Some of the earliest recordings, notably the Debussy, are substandard in sound, and some discomfort at the top is evident, a whitening and sharpening on sustained high notes. Whether this is due to a still-developing vocal technique or to the vagaries of recording technology is not clear. The Traviata excerpts are well-sung, but lack the Italianate tang and dramatic intensity of the great interpreters of the role. Any small reservations the listener may have, though, are completely vanquished by the later tracks, which reveal the familiar lustrous, seamless sound generously applied to Italian and French operatic repertoire, oratorio, and popular standards. Steber sings everything with emotional urgency, and reveals a surprising command of florid technique in the Rossini and Thomas arias. Her "Signore, ascolta," sung in English, justly draws an ovation from the live audience for its perfectly placed, long-sustained concluding B-flat--perhaps only Montserrat Caballe has equalled or surpassed Steber's rendition of this phrase. Her traversal of the hoary chestnut "Danny Boy" could draw tears from a statue. All in all, this CD is a great souvenir of a great American voice."
Volume I is not enough
steberfan | New York | 03/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It is a welcome development that more and more of Eleanor Steber's work from 1940-1960 is being reissued. She was the greatest American soprano in her prime and too few of her complete opera performances were recorded. People who listen to this collection are amazed, because opera lovers of today associate Steber with her voice of the 1970s instead of the glorious instrument heard on this disc. Dead-on Rossini and Thomas coloratura? Sensual Massenet? Thrilling Puccini with breath control to spare? It's all on this recording and I urge VAI and the owners of the original source material to put together volume 2 so we can rediscover more of this treasure."
Absolutely Ravishing
Pococat | Baltimore. MD USA | 02/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is one of about ten CDs (out of over one thousand) that, if forced to choose, would take with me to that perverbial desert island. Only Rosa Ponselle had a voice that could match Eleanor Steber in her prime for sheer beauty of tone and security of line. From standard coloratura fare to beloved chestnuts, this album could be an aural definition for the word "beauty.""